Systems Thinker is a primer tool for learning and using systems thinking in a format that is interactive, accessible, and encourages group discussion and collaboration. Aimed at young change-makers who may seek new ways to expand their understandings of issues and their opportunities for making a difference across scales, Systems Thinker breaks down a complex system (in this case, climate change and its relevant impacts to Rhode Island) and then introduces discussion prompts, questions, and methods for building out intervention opportunities.


The tool remotely was tested with classmates, individuals with little to no experience with systems thinking and systems design, and high school students. It was made as a printable grayscale letter-size PDF so it can be made inexpensively and without extended need for internet or computer access. Lowering this barrier to access along with using simple language is intentional in expanding who can engage with systems thinking. Systems Thinker argues that understanding the systems we live in as complex—and opportunities for change as scalable, possible and across industries and disciplines—is foundational to making a more civically-engaged, empathetic, and just society. Next steps would be to re-assess and expand the interaction arrow symbols for more nuanced meaning and to build out other "editions" for elementary school-age children as well as for groups with more advanced experience with systems thinking and design.


[Link to Systems Thinker website here]

[Download Systems Thinker printable PDF brief here]

Fall 2020, Innovation Studio with Instructor Charlie Cannon

All work is my own, except as noted.

© 2021 Katrina Machado